What Is an Axle? Skateboard Truck Parts Decoded

How well do you know your trucks? Let's take a look at the skateboard axle in greater detail. Discover its crucial role in maneuverability and stability.

Do you ever wonder what keeps your wheels spinning when busting out those kickflips, grinds, and ollies? It’s all in the axle! So, picture this: You’ve got your board, right? Wooden deck, grip tape, the whole nine yards—but the real magic? That’s underneath the trucks. The trucks are those T-shaped metal pieces bolted to the deck, and the axle is the long pin that runs through the center of your wheels.

What should you know about the skateboard axle and truck?

I do not call myself an aficionado. Yet, from my shared experiences, I’ve learned to appreciate the impact of different parts, especially axles and trucks. At its core, a skateboard truck’s size and height directly influence your riding experience.

A close up image of a skateboard's trucks. Source: pexels
A close up image of a skateboard's trucks. Source: pexels

When it comes to truck size, you’re essentially talking about two crucial measurements – the hanger’s length and the axle’s length. The hanger is your grinding hotspot, where metal meets concrete, rail, or ledge. Remember, your skateboard should generally line up pretty close with the full axle length, bolt to bolt.

Here’s a quick table outlining the do’s and don’ts when it comes to the axle of a skateboard:

Check for proper alignment after every major impact.Over-tighten the nuts, which can damage the wheels or bearings.
Clean and lubricate the axle regularly to ensure smooth rotation.Use mismatched or damaged nuts on the axle.
Use proper tools, like a skate tool or wrench, when adjusting the axle nuts.Skate with bent axles; it can cause uneven wear and potential accidents.
Ensure that the wheel is centered and spins freely after adjusting the axle nut.Ignore rust or visible damage; it can weaken the axle over time.
Replace the axle if you notice any significant bending damage or if it’s worn down.Replace the axle if you notice any significant bending damage, or if it’s worn down.
Do’s and don’ts of an axle
My favorite trucks (at the moment):

Thunder Night Hollow II Lights Trucks

What is an axle? Skateboard truck parts decoded | 61r 0zf6sgl. Ac sl1050 | skateboard salad
My favorite trucks (at the moment):

Thunder Night Hollow II Lights Trucks

I switched over from Tensor to Thunder Trucks, and I never went back. They just feel a lot lighter, in my opinion, and I love the look of these trucks, (And the thunderbolt gives me Weezer vibes, I dig it)

Does the truck material really matter?

From my experience, the material of your trucks can make a noticeable difference in your ride. Having experienced steel and aluminum trucks, I felt a distinct contrast. Aluminum trucks felt lighter, making it easier to pull off some tricks. But there’s a flip side to it. They feel a little less stable, as they are less dense than steel. But again, this difference might be more or less notable, depending on your riding style.

So, if different trucks have different specialties, what about the construction material? Are there any bearings on your ride? Here’s the reality: The construction affects how the truck rides, flips, and grinds.

Most trucks are made of an aluminum hanger and baseplate combination, with steel axles as standard. But don’t be freaked out if you come across some that boast titanium or magnesium—we’re nothing if not diverse in the skateboarding world! You’d find some materials in their solider and lighter, hollow versions.

In short, expect materials like:

  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Magnesium

What’s the difference between high, mid, or low trucks?

When dealing with truck sizes, you’ll notice some unique number systems in play. Every trucking company seems to have its own funky way of sizing up. But hey, it’s all part of the skateboard’s crazy world. But how about truck height? Is it really a big deal, or is it just a catchphrase tossed around?

Good news: the choice is yours, dude! On one hand, you’ve got low trucks. Closer to the ground, they’re a solid choice for technical streets or doing flip tricks. Dig smaller wheels, too? These low-riding babies have your name written all over them!

Image of skateboard trucks and wheels. Source: pexels
What is an axle? Skateboard truck parts decoded | image of skateboard trucks and wheels pexels | skateboard salad

Mid trucks solve that Goldilocks problem—not too high, not too low, just right—perfect for mid-sized wheels between 53mm and 56mm. These trucks are like your favorite pair of jeans, adored for being all-rounders, be it for the streets or the skatepark.

On the other end of the truck spectrum, you’ll find the High trucks, awesome companions for larger wheels (think 56mm and up). They offer a little extra breathing space to avoid the ‘sudden stop nightmare, or as we skaters like to call it, the wheelbite. Hitting vert and bowls, using larger, harder wheels, or setting up a cruiser-style board? These are definitely your trucks of choice.

What is a kingpin?

The kingpin is the backbone vibe of your skate trucks, the guts holding the top hanger to the baseplate. This puts pressure on the bushings. Want tighter trucks? Twist the kingpin bolt to the right. A bit on the loose side? Turn to your left. Now and then, you might need to replace your kingpin. But don’t let it get you down! It’s an easy fix – shared knowledge from us skateboard science geeks!

Remember, Buffy put it best when she said,

“Seize the moment, ’cause tomorrow you might be dead.”

And seize the ride you will, for every element of your board has been designed to deliver nothing short of a phenomenal ride, just like adding links in my blog posts to give you an understanding of wheelbite or how to choose your skateboard size. Now, go out and shred!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You may have additional questions about skateboard trucks and how they impact your ride. Let’s dive into some of these questions and demystify any lingering doubts in your mind.

How does the size of the axle affect my ride?

The size of the axle can significantly influence your ride. It’s the balance beam for your skateboard, supporting the wheels on either side. Larger axles offer more stability, especially when you’re leaning into turns. If you’re into vert skating, a larger axle can help keep your board steady. However, a smaller axle might offer more precision for those technical street skating sessions, especially when doing those insane flip tricks. You might want to check out this cool guide to understanding “what makes a good skateboard” to complement your axle knowledge!

Can I use high trucks for street skating?

Yes, but it’s all about personal preference and style. High trucks can be used for street skating. However, they’re especially favored for vert and bowl skating or for larger and harder wheels. The advantage here is the increased clearance between the deck and the ground, reducing the odds of wheelbite.

What risks come with an incorrect truck size?

Choosing the wrong truck size might lead to an unstable ride and an increased chance of accidents. If your trucks are too small for your board, they might not offer adequate support, potentially leading to wheelbite. On the flip side, if they’re too wide, they stick out from your deck, which might cause you to trip. Getting the right truck size is crucial for a safe and enjoyable ride.

Is it normal for the kingpin to break?

While uncommon, it isn’t unheard of for the kingpin to break. Generally, kingpins are pretty durable but can get damaged due to heavy use or a hard impact. Fret not! A damaged kingpin isn’t the end of your skating days. You can easily replace and fix it, keeping your truck game strong. Here’s a bit of insight on “when to replace skateboard trucks,” a handy guide to gauging the longevity of your trucks!

Final Thoughts

And here we are, folks, wrapping up our exploration of skateboard trucks. Hope you found your ride through this post as smooth as pulling off a three-flip! And dare I say, all this truck talk, I can’t help but imagine a skateboard also acting like a food truck, serving us some gnarly tricks on a platter! A good laugh never hurt!

Plunging into the skateboarding world can sometimes be as daunting as that first drop-in on a quarter pip. Did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (brace yourselves because I read and reply to every comment). If you found this ride through the world of trucks helpful, slide over to sharing it with a friend, and check back on my blog for more doses of skate knowledge. Until then, remember to carve your way through life, one kickflip at a time. Keep shredding!

Key Takeaways

This article covered all you need to know about skateboard trucks. From their integral components to their roles in your hallowed skating sessions, we’ve broken it down. Here are some key takeaways:

  • The axle size influences the skateboard’s stability and precision, particularly for street or vert skating.
  • Truck sizes and their impacts vary, with low trucks being ideal for flip tricks and high trucks offering more clearance to avoid wheelbite.
  • The construction material of the trucks – steel, aluminum, titanium, or magnesium – affects their grind, flip, and ride dynamics.
  • The kingpin, the backbone of the truck, occasionally needs replacing.
  • Choosing the right trucks and tweaking them according to your needs significantly enhances your ride’s comfort, ease, and safety.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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